Trinis set for more T20 glory

Excitement
is building for next week’s big tournament. OK, it’s not on the same scale as
the World Cup but for some it brings much more entertainment.

The
inaugural Caribbean T20 tournament will be a permanent fixture in the West
Indies Cricket Board’s calendar.

Eight
teams are in the Caribbean T20; Barbados, Combined Campuses and Colleges,
Guyana, Jamaica, Leeward Islands, Trinidad and Tobago and Windward Islands will
be joined by an international team. There is a huge incentive to win the
Caribbean T20, with the leading regional team going on to represent the West
Indies at the Airtel Champions League in South Africa in September.

Mindful
of the PR disaster they caused three years ago when hosting the cricket World
Cup, the board will allow a carnival atmosphere to prevail this time, unlike in
2007 when matches were played in a graveyard atmosphere in near empty stadia.
Tickets and refreshments were overpriced and no musical or percussion
instruments, nor klaxons or whistles were allowed in. The general public,
media, visiting supporters and even politicians moaned bitterly and many stayed
away in droves. No wonder the board is urging the fans this time to feel
totally uninhibited with a campaign entitled ‘Bring It Back’.

They
want the crowds to wave flags, play their music and create the sort of
atmosphere that West Indies supporters are legendary for over the 10 days of
matches, starting in Barbados on 22 July.

This
follows the same ‘Bring It’ theme that was used during the successful hosting
of the ICC World T20 Tournament in the Caribbean in April and May.

Ernest
Hilaire, chief executive officer of the board said: “This is a very exciting
time for cricket in the West Indies. We just staged the hugely successful ICC
World T20 Tournament and now we have the inaugural Caribbean T20 Tournament. We
expect to see superb action on the field from the region’s best players, and
great excitement off the field from the lovely Caribbean people in the stands.
Cricket fans all across the world have fallen in love with Twenty20 cricket and
we know they will be thrilled with what they see during the Caribbean T20.”

The
format for the Caribbean T20 Tournament will be two groups of four teams. There
will be a round robin stage in each group – each team will play three matches –
with the top two teams in each group qualifying for the semi-finals.

The
winners of the semi-finals will advance to the final while the losing semi-finalists
will play a third-place play-off. The matches in Barbados are on 22-25 July and
the matches in Trinidad are on 28-31 July, with 1 August as the reserve day for
the finals.

This
tournament has effectively replaced the Stanford T20 as the Caribbean’s premier
Twenty20 tournament. Since former Texas billionaire Allen Stanford is in jail
on remand for financial irregularities, the board decided to organise a
smaller, less costly version.

Although
Barbados have a strong side and home advantage initially, tournament favourites
are inevitably Trinidad and Tobago, led by Daren Ganga who are the most consistent
T20 side in the Caribbean and who will also be playing at home for some of the
matches.

Their
main weapon is the T20 maestro Kieron Pollard, but they also have strength
throughout the team. Batsmen such as Ganga, Lendl Simmons, Adrian Barath and
William Perkins can turn a match in a couple of overs. The Bravo brothers
Dwayne and Darren are accomplished all rounders and clever spin of Dave Mohammed
and emerging wicket-keeping talent of Danesh Ramdin make this a formidable
side. 

Trinidad
and Tobago qualified for both Stanford T20 finals in 2006 and 2008 and won the
second one emphatically, thrashing Jamaica. The Trinis appeared in the Stanford
Super Series, where they beat English champions Middlesex and narrowly lost to
a star-studded England side. They went on to represent the region in the
inaugural Champions League T20 competition last year, where they beat the likes
of Deccan Chargers, Sussex and New South Wales on their way to the final.
Playing against New South Wales for a second time, Brett Lee’s heroics denied
them the title.

Jamaica
and Guyana are likeliest contenders, with both teams having lots of experience
in their squads. Perennial underdogs Leeward Islands and Windward Islands seem
to make up numbers, but they might be able to spring some surprises in an unpredictable
format such as T20.

TRINIDAD
AND TOBAGO SQUAD: Daren Ganga (capt), Lendl Simmons, Adrian Barath, William
Perkins, Kevon Cooper, Kieron Pollard, Imran Khan, Samuel Badree, Sherwin
Ganga, Dwayne Bravo, Darren Bravo, Navin Stewart, Dave Mohammed, Denesh Ramdin.
Kelvin Williams (coach), Colin Borde (manager), Ronald
Rogers (trainer).

0
0

NO COMMENTS